Austen manuscripts online today

For Jane Austen fans everywhere, today is a great day!  Her handwritten manuscripts are available on line.  Yes, that’s 1100 pages of her writing in  her own handwriting.  This project was made possible by the efforts of Professor Kathryn Sutherland of Oxford University who has been studying Austen’s unpublished writing.
Sutherland’s studies also revealed that most likely Austen’s works were edited by William Gifford and that her original writing may have been a bit rougher than originally thought.  Sutherland warns that this discovery should not minimize our respect for Austen.  In fact, she says that these manuscripts demonstrate that the authoress was “”even better at writing dialogue and conversation” than as presented in the versions that we continue to enjoy to this day.
The Arts and  History Research Council (AHRC)  provided the funding for this research.  The council was joined by University of Oxford and King’s College London in supporting this project.
For any of us that enjoy the work of  Austen, we are grateful to the team that brought this about.


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